Metro Manila LGUs: We're ready for Typhoon Ruby
MANILA, Philippines – While Metro Manila is not directly along the path of Typhoon Ruby (international name: Hagupit) based on the forecast of most weather groups, local government units (LGUs) are not taking any chances in the storm's possible onslaught on Monday, December 8.
As of 11 pm Saturday, December 6, the state weather bureau placed Metro Manila under Storm Signal Number 1.
Days before Ruby entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility, local disaster councils in each city in the national capital region had convened. In separate interviews, representatives of LGUs in Metro Manila told Rappler they were closely coordinating with national government agencies, such as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC)
On Friday, December 5, mayors of Metro Manila attended a last-minute meeting with the NDRRMC. (READ: #RubyPH: Metro Manila on alert for flooding)
Arnaldo Antonio, head of the disaster management office of Valenzuela City, told Rappler that close onsultation with the agencies ensures proper dissemination of disaster preparedness plans.
Local disaster managers explained to Rappler that what people call the “calm before the storm” is the window of opportunity for local officials to enhance their preparedness and other disaster-related measures to ensure zero casualty among their constituents.
Thus, as the day Typhoon Ruby is expected to affect Metro Manila nears, the monitoring teams of some Metro Manila LGUs – including Quezon City, Makati City, and Malabon City – went on 24-hour operations.
Manpower – together with essential resources such as relief goods, rescue supplies, and medical kits – have been prepositioned in critical areas.
For instance, a representative of Parañaque City's disaster management office said they sourced their needs as early as Friday, December 5.
“Maaga namin kinalap ang mga kakailangin sa aming disaster preparedness measures,” Parañaque City DRRMO staff Lei Andrada said. (We’ve sourced the important things we need for our disaster preparedness measures.)
Flood-prone areas ready
Officials of the flood-prone cities of Malabon and Marikina, even Navotas, have cascaded all disaster measures to the barangays.
“Habang sinisigurado namin ang tamang oras na dapat sila i-evacuate, nagpapapunta na kami ng mga tauhan naming para i-ready sila,” Giovanni Reyes, a member of the staff of the Malabon disaster management office, said.
(While we ascertain the right time to evacuate the people, we have deployed personnel to key areas to orient the residents on how to prepare.)
Marikina City disaster management office head Val Barcinal told Rappler that his office had informed all barangay officials that they might issue a pre-emptive evacuation order for those living in communities at risk of flooding as early as afternoon of Sunday, December 7.
“Barangay heads have to inform their constituents to prepare for possible evacuation,” he told Rappler. “Hindi sila mahihirapan kasi hindi biglaan ang aming notice. (They will not have a hard time because we’ve notified them beforehand.)”
Meanwhile, Manila City is coordinating with the Philippine Coast Guard to ensure that their response to the typhoon are in sync.
“We have our own preparation, they have their own,” The city’s disaster management office head Antonio Tolentino said. “Kailangan naming siguraduhin na parallel ang approach na mangyayari. (We want to make sure that our respective approach would be parallel.)”
In a worst-case scenario, Tolentino added, the city government would implement its general evacuation plan.
Evacuation centers have also been identified through the help of the Department of Education (DepEd).
“Alerted na ang DepEd officials na ang mga eskwelahan ay ihanda na para maging evacuation centers,” Antonio said. “Basta anytime na maglabas na ng order, ready na.”
(The DepEd has been alerted and they’ve already prepared the schools for evacuation centers. Anytime we or other LGUs release an order for evacuation, residents are ready to be accommodated.)
Volunteers have gone from barangay to barangay to orient residents on what they need to do to prepare for the typhoon.
Meanwhile, city maintenance units had already trimmed big branches of trees scattered around the Metro.
As Metro Manila awaits the strong wind and rain that the typhoon is expected to bring, coordination plays a big role among rescue teams and volunteers from each LGU, the local disaster managers said.
“Lahat ng departments at volunteers, we’re all trying our best para maging handa talaga para bagyo,” Andrada said. “Lahat nakahanda na para sa kung ano ang dalhin ng bagyo.”
(All of the government and volunteers are trying their best to in preparation for Typhoon Ruby. Everything is ready.) – Rappler.com